It is difficult to summarise all the actions carried out and the results obtained in a two-years project. All project partners have done a tremendous job preparing, organizing and delivering project activities, as well as in communicating and disseminating them to recruit the people who have taken part in MERLIN activities, and to ensure that Society is informed of these activities and the results achieved.
Training and support activities
As shown on this webpage, in the context of MERLIN we have organized 53 training workshops, covering state-of-the-art innovation and entrepreneurship methodologies organised around 8 themes, and 17 meet-ups, with potential partners, customers and investors in order to help MERLIN participants to boost their business idea. These activities have been organised by MERLIN partners in 17 cities of 8 European countries. 1087 people have attended the training workshops, and 216 of them have also attended some of the meet-ups. These training activities have been complemented with the organization of 5 webinars on diverse topics, like innovation journey, funding for SME growth, and intellectual property rights, which had 283 live viewers and that, until February 2020, accumulate a total of 926 views in MERLIN YouTube channel.
Intense online activity
More than 1200 posts on social networks (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with 633+ followers from all the partners’ institutions, and 38 newsletters sent to more than 1000 people. MERLIN website had more than 5300 unique visitors, who viewed more than 17000 pages, with an average duration time of 2 minutes. 37 multimedia materials have been recorded, including 23 videos and 9 podcasts with interviews with project participants and various experts, as well as the 5 webinars mentioned above. In total, the number of visualizations of the multimedia materials produced in MERLIN exceed 2000 reproductions. 4 press releases about project activities have been also published in “Emprendedores”, a Spanish magazine about entrepreneurship.
MERLIN partners have participated in 27 events and entrepreneurship fairs in these years, either by promoting the activities and results of the project, or by providing help and support to the project participants attending these events. Among these events, it is worth highlighting the presence of the vice minister of Economy and Innovation of Lithuania, the presentation of Innovation Radar and the results of MERLIN at a breakfast event in the Euro Parliament, the presence of MERLIN partners at large entrepreneurship and innovation fairs (South Summit, Startup Olé, Foro Transfiere, Women in Tech Summit, Infoshare) and scientific conferences (Digital Day, ICT Vienna, International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, InnoShare, Wolves Summit). And, lately, an interview in morning show of the regional TV of Poznan (Poland) and in Polish National Radio, again in morning show.
The following images show the cities where MERLIN activities have been delivered, and an infographics with some of these numbers:
MERLIN activities haven’t been easy to perform, however. The most difficult task has been the recruitment of people with the specific profile that MERLIN was looking for: researchers from universities, research centres and technology-based companies, who were willing to commercially exploit their research results. Identifying them, reaching them and convincing them to regularly attend the project activities and perform the tasks assigned to them, has undoubtedly been the most complex and demanding activity performed by partners. But after that, our participants have achieved the following milestones. At least, these are the ones we are aware of! Probably, they will be preparing more:
- Participants have created 23 companies (18 in UK), and 21 are currently on the pipeline.
- 53 participants have entered other entrepreneurship-related programmes, which means they are interested in improving their skills and better developing their business models.
- 28 participants have set up a license agreements/partnership with other companies to further develop their business ideas.
- 15 patents/trademarks/design rights/copyright have been filed, and 19 are being prepared.
- 19 participants have secured funding through grants or investment.
- 15 participants have won different prizes, like “Best biotech business idea” (Bioga), Downing Enterprise Award 2019, King’s College Innovation Competition, Cleantech Company of the year Award, Silver medal at Geneva Palexpo, to mention a few.
Besides the effort put on recruitment, the study of the profile and needs of MERLIN participants also consumed a lot of the time of the partners. We created a self-assessment methodology, the list of services identifies for pre-market status, and the development of the ‘Growth Radar’ tool. With all this information, we also prepared a “White Paper on the synergies of ESIF and national initiative and the needs of researchers”, which of course we recommend everyone to read.
This has been MERLIN. In the coming days we will publish another post with some supporting actions that MERLIN partners are preparing for the coming years to continue supporting entrepreneurship, so stay tuned.